Aspiring novelists looking for pointers on how to structure their plots should look no further than The Nowhere Child (published by Affirm Press, 2017), the debut novel of Melbourne based Australian author Christian White. In short, start with a simple idea and proceed to complicate the hell out of it. The former web designer in me might also call this process wire-framing.
So let’s expound upon this thought. You’re sitting in the workplace cafeteria one day, as Kim Leamy, a Melbourne photographer is, when a complete stranger approaches you and says he believes you are in fact a person who disappeared twenty-eight years ago from a Kentucky town in the United States. Right, we’ve gone from simple to not so simple in the space of a few sentences.
Add into the mix a family history, that upon closer scrutiny, doesn’t quite stack up, and the simple life you thought you knew, is beginning to look distinctly murky. But wait until you travel to the aforementioned town in Kentucky, with your curiosity now fully roused, in the belief that asking one or two people a couple of straightforward questions will solve the mystery.
Some questions are answered. But the answers only pose more questions. There is no record of any small girl disappearing. Indeed, there is no trace of said small girl in the first place. How could you be her, if she didn’t even exist? The alleged disappearance happened decades ago, and memories of the time are distant and obscure. Or so people tell you.
And what of the Pentecostal snake handlers at the local church, how do they fit into the puzzle? Someone remind me, what was meant to be the simple idea again? But I’ll leave you uncover the rest of the story. In The Nowhere Child, White has crafted a multi-faceted, spellbinding, family drama thriller that is compulsive reading. It’s no longer Kim’s quest for the truth, it becomes yours.